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Bucs Were Only Willing to Risk One Trade Down

Tampa Bay traded just out of the first round on Thursday night, moving down six spots to number 33, but prioritized getting their man in Logan Hall on Friday over trading again for more draft capital

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made one of the rarer moves in their 47-year draft history on Thursday night, trading down from the 27th overall pick in the 2022 draft to the 33rd slot. That took them out of the first round and into the first selection on Friday night, which formerly belonged to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It marked the first time in 24 years that the Buccaneers had begun the draft with a first-round pick before subsequently trading out of that round.

That move essentially put Tampa Bay on the clock for close to 20 hours, and it made them an obvious target for general managers around the league who were interested in trading up to secure a coveted player. The Buccaneers elected to hold onto the pick, but it's almost certain they had some offers, as evidenced by Green Bay trading up with division-rival Minnesota for the very next selection to take North Dakota State wide receiver Christian Watson.

The deciding factor was the players who were selected after the Buccaneers made their trade with Jacksonville, wrapping up the first round. Bowles and company had enough players at the top of their list late Thursday night to be confident in moving back six spots, but their margin of error had become slim by Friday.

"We had a few players at 27 that we targeted," said Bowles. "Moving back to 33, which was the first [pick] today, we had one guy left there. The other ones went off the board, so it wouldn't have been smart for us to trade back down and lose the guy we wanted."

That one guy was Houston defensive lineman Logan Hall, who was the third player drafted at his position. The second player off that list was Georgia's Devonte Wyatt, who went 28th overall to the Packers right after the Bucs' trade. Clearly, Tampa Bay valued landing Hall, a player they would have been happy with at number 27, over amassing a few more draft assets with another trade down.

"Like I said, we had four or five guys that we liked at 27 [and] they were pretty even," said Bowles. "When you have guys like that that's pretty even and somebody wants to come up, you have to be sure that you want to come away with one of them. You don't want to trade back to the 40th pick or the 45th pick and not be able to get anybody. You felt good about all four or five guys; it wasn't just Devonte, there were quite a few guys there we liked. So we were confident we could get one the second day, which we did, and we got some picks in the process."

The Bucs were rewarded for that confidence not only with the addition of Hall, who will add juice to their interior pass rush, but also the extra fourth and sixth-round picks they got from Jacksonville in the deal. Both of those selections are also the first picks of those respective rounds, numbers 106 and 180. Before that deal, the Bucs had faced a pretty uneventful Day Three of the draft, as they had only their own pick late in the fourth round and two more selections near the very end of the final frame.

"We didn't have a five and a six, and obviously there's some needs that we need later on down the line that we're going to address," said Bowles. "So it was important for us to be in position to try to get those types of guys."

The Bucs' trade down and out of the first round on Thursday night proved to be a worthwhile gamble, but one they weren't willing to double down on. There was one other consequence to the deal, though: It made for an unexciting first draft night for Bowles as the Bucs' head coach.

"Considering we didn't pick, it was pretty boring," he said.

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